The Newcastle Knights will kick off action at the Maitland Sportsground in a NRL pre-season game against the Parramatta Eels on February 24.
Knights CEO Phil Gardner and Maitland mayor Loretta Baker announced the drawcard game at the Sportsground on Thursday.
They were joined by Knights’ Maitland born young star Brock Lamb and key 2018 signing Aidan Guerra.
“We’re excited to have both the Newcastle and Parramatta teams coming to Maitland in February. Obviously the Knights are the Hunter’s very own team but we understand there are also a lot of Eels fans around the city so we’re hoping this match will draw a big local crowd,” Cr Baker said.
Gardner said he was impressed with the new sportsground and it was exciting to be part of the historic first game at the ground.
He said the sportsground upgrade had delivered a first class venue and the Knights were keen to look at the possibility of playing state league and under-20 games there.
“The last time I was here it was with Wests in a game against the Pickers. It’s amazing the transformation.
“The stands were old and looked like they would go up in flames if someone dropped a match. The canteen was up on the hill and I grabbed a coffee and plenty of advice from Brian Burke at his van.”
The Newcastle Knights will kick off action at the new Maitland No.1 Sportsground in a NRL pre-season game in February.
The Knights’ opponent and date of the game are to be revealed at a media conference today.
A host of Maitland Pickers juniors are likely to be in action on the day including Knights incumbent five-eighth Brock Lamb.
The game will be the first official rugby league game at new look stadium and first outing of its showcase $8.6 million, 1100 seat grandstand.
Maitland mayor Loretta Baker said the council was excited to have Newcastle, the Hunter’s very own team, play at the ground.
Cr Baker said having the Knights play an NRL opponent at the ground was expected to draw a big local crowd.
“This match is going to be great for the people of Maitland. There will be a range of opportunities for juniors in the lead up and on the day, with different family friendly activities taking place from midday,” Cr Baker said.
“This is an exciting opportunity to watch sport of such a calibre in Maitland and to highlight that Maitland now has the facilities to cater for high profile sporting events.”
Following improved performances in 2017, the Knights will be looking to find some early form in 2018 and locals can expect to see some of the side’s biggest stars take the field at the sportsground.
“This will be the club’s final trial match before the season proper kicks off and what a wonderful occasion it will be to play this trial at Maitland’s No.1 Sportsground,” Knights CEO Philip Gardner said.
‘With a host of new recruits joining the club this season, this trial match will be a great opportunity for our fans to see those players in action for the very first time.”
There will be five games of footy played on the day including under-16, under-18, under-20 and reserve grade teams before the NRL match.
General sale tickets for the match will go on sale at 10am on Monday, December 4, and can be purchased online at maitlandevents.com.au or over the counter at the Maitland Visitor Information Centre.
Tickets are $20 for grandstand seating, $10 for general admission and while children under 12 are free, a ticket will still need to be booked for each child along with the adult ticket.